New Product Development Strategy – Understanding the Process

I find myself at an impasse with the new product development strategy topic. See, I actually discussed this in fairly good detail (as non-technical discussion goes), when talking about the general product development and management lifecycles both. Now, it’s my fault that happened because I tend to give more information than is required.

But, since this is decidedly a bit of a different experience from management of a product that’s established, I think this needs to be discussed again as its own thing, to drive its point home. The problem with this is, if you read the previous pieces I mentioned, this is going to feel a little repetitive to you. Read it anyway, no laziness allowed darn it!

Models of New Product Development Strategy:

In many business sciences, such as training, management, marketing, change and other complex trials, there tend to be various widely-used models one can choose from, or base a custom strategy off of. No one of them is the “right” one, just the ones that are right for enough people to be popular.

When it comes to new product development, there are surely many different variations to approach, but it’s not quite the same.

See, with this, there are definitive phases of the development and its successive first pass through the management lifecycle. The definitive nature of these stages means that variation of approach is more about different tactics on a per-step basis, than an entire model or set of them.

The Inception Phase:

You’ll find that the names of these phases can vary depending on who describes them, but they all mean the same for each one. I call this the inception phase because, well, it’s when the idea for the product is brought about.

On its own, just an obvious “think of an idea” isn’t enough to be its own phase, but you actually do more than that here. Not only do you think of an idea, but you think of how it would actually work in the real world.

You think of how practical it probably would be to develop, produce and deliver to customers, as well as market. You weigh out, in base theory, how profitable it would actually be if successful, and if there’s a market gap for you.

R&D Phase 1:

Now, R&D needs to take your idea, and work out a prototype that can be tested. You’ll then test this prototype both with “people off the street”, and in clinical trials as well.

This will determine if the product works off of paper, even if production, form and delivery of the prototype is crude and unflattering to the grand vision.

Planning Phase 1:

In the first planning phase, you must plan packaging (where relevant), final form the product should take, as well as vending outlets for the product. This could mean shelf space at retailers, or online store fronts both your own or in general. It could be all of these as well.

You also plan distribution.

R&D Phase 2:

Now, R&D will work with fabrication and production to work out the facilities to produce and package the product. A lot of “prototypes” that match what the final revision is meant to be, are tested like the prototype, to be sure the final form still works.

Planning Phase 2:

Some plan marketing in the first planning phase (making it the only planning phase for them), but I suggest marketing only when you’re ready to deliver. So now, plan your marketing strategy.


Got marketing, production, distribution and outlets for the product in place? Launch, then, and begin your management cycle from here.

So, in general, the new product development strategy isn’t hard to understand.


Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.